DIET & HAIR SHEDDING

Are you seeing signs of hair loss during your weight loss journey? The effects of dieting and general poor nutrition can be detected in the overall health of our hair. Excessive hair shedding and slowed hair growth are more extreme signs that diet and dieting may be taking a toll on hair.

Early signs that hair is lacking nutrients to thrive may include dryness, brittleness, breakage, lack of shine, dry scalp and overall lackluster hair.

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Poor Nutrition

Longstanding malnutrition, long term calorie restriction, eating disorders or being deficient in certain essential nutrients can also cause excessive hair shedding, hair thinning and more extreme hair loss. Nutritional stabilization is very important to treat hair loss of this nature and can take at least 6 months of healthy eating to help hair get back into a normal growth cycle.

Dieting

Depending on whether you maintain a well-balanced diet while you shed pounds will also determine whether you may shed excessive hair. A sudden onset of hair shedding could indicate the body is reacting to abrupt changes or not getting all the proper nutrients to function on all levels.

Keep in mind hair shedding from dieting can be completely normal and often happens with sudden weight loss or losing 20 pounds or more. Typically, once your body adjusts, hair will return to its normal growth cycle.

Why Does Diet Impact Hair Health?

Eating a restricted diet, an abrupt change in diet or consistently eating a poor diet can all lead to a lack of vital nutrients. When the body is lacking the digestion of vital nutrients, it will look within itself for the nutrients or it may stop or slow certain functions to conserve energy and maintain essential systems that maintain life.

Hair growth is one of the functions that will slow or even stop if the body isn’t getting proper nutrition. When the body is getting a well-rounded intake of proteins, healthy fats, iron, and vitamins hair can flourish.

Essential Nutrients for Healthy Hair Growth

Protein:

Hair is made of the protein Keratin. If you restrict protein intake, hair can become weak, brittle and be prone to thinning and shedding. Get protein from meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, legumes, beans and soy.

Iron:

Hair follicles, which are located under the scalp, are fed by a blood supply, and thereby need iron rich blood for optimal health. Iron deficiency is often a cause for excessive hair shedding. Get iron from red meat, chicken, fish and dark leafy greens.

Healthy Fats - Omega Fatty Acid:

Healthy fats are said to support the hair follicle and aid with improved microcirculation and have anti-inflammatory effects. Get hair healthy fats from salmon, avocado and coconut oil.

Biotin:

Biotin is important in the production of keratin – the protein that hair is made of and thereby an essential building block to strong, healthy hair. Get biotin from eggs, almonds, mushrooms, cauliflower and cheese or take a high quality supplement.

Vitamins B12, C, E and D and Mineral

Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that support a myriad of functions in the body, including healthy hair. Get vitamins and minerals from eating fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Hair Shedding or Hair Loss
What’s the Difference?

Due to the multitude of factors that may contribute to hair loss and the many kinds of hair loss conditions, it can be overwhelming to understand this complex issue. Even understanding the difference between hair shedding and hair loss can be difficult as this terminology is often used interchangeably. Let’s take a closer look at how they do indeed differ.

Hair Shedding

Normal hair shedding is considered 50-150 strands a day. At times, and due to certain life changes or practices, we may experience more hair fall. When the body sheds hair excessively, this is called Telogen Effluvium. Typically, this type of hair shedding is temporary and can be resolved once the cause is addressed. Hair will go back to its normal growth cycle in 6-9 months.

Hair Shedding Triggers

• Acute stress
• Sickness with high fever 
• Giving birth 
• Rapid weight loss / crash dieting 
• Having an operation

Hair Loss

Hair loss on the other hand is when hair stops growing. This type of hair loss is called Anagen Effluvium. Hereditary hair loss, auto-immune disorders and drugs, medical treatments or certain health disorders will trigger anagen effluvium. A dermatologist can help you determine if you have hair loss or excessive hair shedding and can put you on the right path to resolving your condition.

Hair Loss Triggers

• Genetic hair loss, called Female Pattern Hair Loss
• Immune disorders
• Permanent Traction Alopecia 
• Trichotillomania – disorder where one pulls their own hair out 
• Chemotherapy-induced alopecia